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Volaris Costa Rica’s inaugural trip to Dulles arrived early on Wednesday evening (Photo: AirlineGeeks)

Washington Dulles International Airport Set to Go Solar 

Dulles International Airport is making strides towards a greener tomorrow with the approval of their large scale solar-farm project. Approval for the project was granted by the State Corporation Commission (SCC) of Virginia on Tuesday. If built, the project will make Dulles the largest airport generation and storage facility in the United States. 

Covering an area of 835 acres, the airport’s solar farm is projected to provide an output of 100 megawatts, enough solar electricity to power more than 16,000 homes. The project is projected to be completed as soon as two years. 

“Airports make a lot of sense for siting of solar,” said Princeton’s Policy Research on Energy and the Environment Professor, Jesse Jenkins. “They’re usually close to where we consume electricity near our urban areas. The land is already reserved-large areas of land – with security perimeters around them already, and that makes them a really logical place to develop solar.”

Part of a bigger project

Spearheading the project is a company based in Richmond, Virginia, called Dominion Energy. A company that looks to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The Dulles solar project was one of 15 sites that were approved on Tuesday by Virginia’s State Corporation Commission. Additionally, Dominion Energy’s project includes 11 new utility-scale solar projects, two distributed solar installations, one energy storage project and a solar-plus-storage project. In total, the energy company has acquired nearly 100,000 acres of land for future solar development.

“This is another significant milestone in Virginia’s transition to energy independence,” said Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia.

“These projects will support thousands of good jobs and hundreds of millions in economic activity in communities across Virginia. This is a positive step forward for our customers, the environment and Virginia’s economy,” he continued.

The 15 projects will not only benefit the individuals utilizing the energy directly but will also create nearly 4,200 jobs and generate more than $880 million in economic benefits across Virginia.

Utilizing energy from the sun, the solar sites combined will provide nearly 1,000 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, enough to power roughly 250,000 Virginia homes at peak output.

Acceptance for the proposal came after airport managers recommended that the project be approved following many hours of research into the project. However, it still needs to be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal authorities before it can be built.

Construction of the 15 Dominion Energy Virginia projects is expected to. The projects are expected to be completed in 2022 and 2023 and will add approximately $1.13 to the typical residential customers’ monthly bills.

The project not only benefits Dulles International Airport by achieving self-sufficiency but will be of huge benefit to the state of Virginia and the communities within. This move comes at a time when the country heavily considers its carbon footprint and alternative energy sources available. As a result, many of the nation’s airports are turning their unused land, roofs and parking garages into solar farms. 

Author

  • Chase Hagl grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. His love and passion for Aviation landed him in Orem, Utah where he obtained a B.S. in Aviation Management with a minor in Business Management from Utah Valley University. Chase currently works as a flight attendant in Charleston, SC and is also the primary Inflight ASAP ERC representative for startup airline, Breeze Airways. His experience in the aviation industry spans back four years, working in areas including agriculture application, customer service, maintenance, and flight ops. In his free time, Chase enjoys road biking, astronomy, and flying.

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